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Article - On Campus Only

Publication Date



Purpose: Online social media are dramatically changing the ways in which firms and their consumers interact. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the role of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter among younger consumers ("digital natives") in their interactions with brands. To investigate this, the authors conduct a mixed-method study including latent class analysis (LCA) to examine the role of social media among younger consumers (referred to as "digital natives") in their interactions with brands. Design/methodology/approach: A mixed-method approach including both qualitative analysis and LCA was used to analyze daily interactions between consumers and specific brands across two primary social media platforms (Facebook and Twitter). Data were collected by means of a social media platforms (Facebook and Twitter). Data were collected by means of a social media diary collected over a one-week period. Findings: The findings from this study suggest that brand-consumer interactions driven by social media can be characterized by five primary motivations or themes: entertainment, brand engagement (specifically identification with or connection to the brand), timeliness of information and service responses, product information, and incentives and promotions. The authors also identify relationships among these themes related to respondents' age, gender, and social media use. Research limitations/implications: Although social media have become a widespread form of communication and interaction between brands and consumers, research regarding the nature of social media-driven brand-consumer interactions is only now developing. Drawing on the perspectives of consumer online engagement and uses and gratifications theory, the results from this study are important to guiding future brand-customer interaction research. These findings help extend previous research by identifying consumer motivations that underlie social media usage in brand engagement. Practical implications: These results highlight the role of social media in helping brands to be proactive in their consumer communications and interactions, in areas such as communicating product information, addressing customer service issues, engaging consumers with content relevant to the brand, providing timely information regarding promotions and new product launches, and fostering consumer-generated comments. Managers should also recognize that younger digital natives interact with brands via social media differently (e.g. for pure entertainment) than older individuals. Originality/value: This study provides new insights to the nature of brand-consumer interactions, engagement, and outcomes driven by social media.

Recommended Citation

Rohm, A., D. Kaltcheva, V. and R. Milne, G. (2013), "A mixed-method approach to examining brand-consumer interactions driven by social media", Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing, Vol. 7 No. 4, pp. 295-311.